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Chengdu’s beleaguered residents angry after being trapped in buildings and compounds during China earthquake

Chengdu’s beleaguered residents angry after being trapped in buildings and compounds during China earthquake
Chengdu’s beleaguered residents angry after being trapped in buildings and compounds during China earthquake

 


Residents of the locked-down Chinese city of Chengdu reacted angrily after security guards refused to allow them to leave their buildings or compounds during an earthquake.

Key Points: Videos posted online showed residents of closed buildings demanding they be allowed to leave Chengdu. Residents on social media have openly questioned the government’s priorities The quarantine measures in Chengdu are the most severe since the lockdown of Shanghai earlier this year.

Authorities in Chengdu, the capital of southwest China’s Sichuan Province, maintained strict COVID-19 lockdown measures for the city’s 21 million residents despite Monday’s massive earthquake that killed at least 65 people in remote areas.

The earthquake shook buildings in Chengdu and other parts of western China. No damage was reported in the city.

One of the videos posted online shows angry residents gathering in a lobby facing a government employee in full PPE and demanding that they be allowed out.

Another picture shows a large group of people screaming behind a gate while the security guard says over the megaphone: “Let me ask you, did your building collapse or not?”

An anonymous WeChat user questioned the government’s priorities.

“There is no other emergency except for COVID, right?” They said.

The user said his family fled the ninth floor to find the building’s emergency doors “locked with nails”.

“If there are such situations, the government will make the arrangements,” they said.

“I just want to ask if the earthquake is more than 7 degrees, and I wait for them, will they come to take my body?” User posting.

Rescue workers carry survivors from a town in southwest China’s Sichuan Province. (AP: Cheng Xueli / Xinhua) He ordered rescuers to continue testing

Authorities in Ganzi, the epicenter, said quake-affected people and rescue workers need to continue testing daily.

“Rescuers allowed into the area need to have a valid negative COVID test within the last 24 hours,” the announcement read.

“Civilian rescue groups are not allowed to enter the area to participate in rescue work,” he added.

One social media user said it was “surreal”.

“Even if an earthquake is more deadly than COVID, is testing still more important than rescue work?” asked another.

The controversy over the spread of COVID-Zero

Although only a handful of cases have been recorded, quarantine measures in Chengdu are the most severe since China’s largest city, Shanghai, went into lockdown over the summer, sparking rare protests in person and online.

A Weibo user who lives in a “high-risk” area of ​​the city said in a post on the social media platform that his family went downstairs after the quake started, but that security guards in the building wouldn’t let them out.

“At that moment, I don’t know whether to blame them or feel sorry for them, [as it is] out of their hands, but I cannot praise this “pandemic policy.”

George Lee, who owns a coffee shop in Chengdu, told ABC he rushed downstairs when he felt his apartment shake.

“It was actually very scary,” said Lee, who lives in a “low-risk” neighborhood where people are allowed outside for two hours each day.

“Imagine it was a bigger earthquake, like the Wenchuan earthquake [in 2008] Everyone needs to stay at home. Nobody knows what will happen.

“My cousin’s compound was locked with their building gate. They couldn’t even go downstairs. They were closed before us, it’s already day 13.”

“As long as there is one positive case in your apartment building. The gate to the building will be closed. No one is allowed to leave the complex.”

The earthquake came on the heels of a heat wave and drought in southwest China’s Sichuan Province. (AFP: Xinhua)

Lawyer Zhou Wefa told local media that people “of course” should be able to go out for safety.

“From a legal point of view, the right to life of an individual is greater than any other rights and interests of any kind,” Mr. Zhou said.

China reported 1,695 cases of the novel coronavirus on Tuesday, the National Health Commission said, of which 380 were symptomatic and 1,315 were asymptomatic.

The local government of Chengdu, which extended lockdown restrictions in most regions until Wednesday to complete another round of mass testing, reported 121 new local cases, up from 90 the day before.

There is no indication that Beijing will change its “COVID-Zero” policy anytime soon, said Liu Shaoji, director of La Trobe University’s China Health Program.

“Until that goal is changed, neither the lockdown policy nor mass DNA testing will change,” he said.

Comprehensive DNA tests are more accurate than the antigen tests used in Western countries, but take longer to process.

Professor Shaoji added that the implementation of Beijing’s policies by local authorities has sometimes been harsher than the central government intended.

“Because the above policy is not very accurate, [it} leaves them a space to interpret, and the lower level officials are afraid of accidents,” he said.

“This [mentality] It’s very difficult to correct.”

ABC / AP

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2/ https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-09-07/china-locked-down-chengdu-residents-not-allowed-leave-earthquake/101413554

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